Saturday, February 4, 2017

Just One More Day

My Dad has cancer, and not a good kind. Not that there are any good kinds of cancer, but there are earlier stage cancers, more treatable cancers. He doesn't have one of those kinds. He has inoperable cancer. Two words you never want to hear together. Inoperable cancer.

Late last fall he developed a cough that wouldn't go away, so he went to see the doctor thinking he had a chest infection. Instead he has cancer.

He's had it for a long time and had no idea. He's always been pretty healthy. He's not obese, doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, has low blood pressure. He has regular check ups with his doctor, and gets his blood work done twice a year. In fact the last time he got his blood work done everything was so perfect the doctor asked him why he was there. Only it wasn't perfect.

It never even occurred to him that he had cancer.

That's the thing, we never think it's going to happen to us. Until it does.

One day your dad tells you he's had "a bit of a cough". And then suddenly you find yourself sitting beside him as the specialist explains that the tumour is inoperable.

My dad wanted to put a new roof on the house this spring, and replace some windows. Instead he will be recovering from radiation and chemo treatments.

We always think we have time to do the things we want to do. Until we don't or we can't.

Last week someone said to me, "He's 75, he's had a long life," as if somehow that is supposed to be comforting. It's not. They are right though, he has had a longish life. And as he says, he's still got his feet on the ground, he's not going anywhere yet (take that freaking cancer). Which is good because I'm not done arguing with him. I consider myself fortunate to have had my dad for as long as I have. I, of all people, know that is sadly often not the case. But it's still not long enough, it's not nearly long enough. Not long enough for him, or my mom, or my brothers, or his grandchildren or me.

It doesn't matter how old we are; 27, 43, 61, 75. There is never enough time with the people you love.

We never ever think it's going to happen to us. Until one day you get a cough. You have a seizure. You find a lump. Your door bell rings. And your life is irrevocably changed.

So often we put things off, we'll get to it tomorrow.  I'll call dad tomorrow, I've just been so busy with work. I'll send her a message tomorrow, I don't have time today. Not today buddy, I'm too tired. We'll go to the park tomorrow, I promise. We'll go for a walk at the old farm next weekend dad, if it's not raining.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.

We always take for granted that tomorrow is going to come. And if we are lucky, it will.

But sometimes we aren't lucky.

Sometimes there are no more tomorrows.

And you'll never get to keep those promises or send those messages. And you won't get the chance to say I love you.

Please don't put off until tomorrow what you should do today.

Pick up the damn phone. Call your father, and your mother too. Nobody is too busy for the people that matter to them. Nobody. Tell them you love them, as often as you can. They need to know. And thank your parents for putting up with you all these years (I really didn't mean to talk so much, honest). You wouldn't be the person you are today if it wasn't for them. And make time for your friends. Send your friend that message that you just haven't gotten around to sending. Nobody deserves to be treated as an after thought. Get your ass off the couch and take your son to the park. And go for that walk at the old farm with your dad, the fresh air will do you both wonders.

Today you still have a chance. Don't waste it.

Because you truly never know when you'll find yourself wishing you had just one more day.

Sometimes the morning really doesn't know what the day will bring.

Trust me on that one, I know what I'm talking about.

I love you Daddyo (just in case you forgot in the last hour).

"The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected."~Robert Frost

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